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Sunday, 09 May 2021 6.48 PM IST

Egypt seizes Ever Given ship in Suez Canal, demands compensation

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Egypt has seized the container ship that last month blocked the Suez Canal, the vessel’s owner said Tuesday, amid a dispute over how much compensation the country is owed following the weeklong shutdown of the waterway.

The move turns up pressure on Ever Given’s Japanese owner to negotiate a settlement that Egyptian authorities are claiming should be roughly $1 billion for damage to the canal and lost business while the stuck ship blocked a critical artery for global trade.

Shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. said the waterway’s manager seized the Ever Given after obtaining an order from an Egyptian court, comparing the move to an arrest. “They are still talking to us. So we will continue negotiations on compensation," said Ryu Murakoshi, a spokesman for the company. He declined to disclose the amount under discussion.

Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told state-run television that it was demanding payment for the costs of the rescue operation, damages to the banks of the canal and lost revenues. The court order for the seizure claimed the ship’s owners failed to pay $900 million, according to Egyptian state media.

“They don’t want to pay anything," Mr. Rabie said of the Japanese owners. He has repeatedly denied responsibility on the part of Egypt for the accident.

A statement later Tuesday from the Ever Given’s owners and insurers said they were negotiating in good faith with Egyptian authorities and disappointed by the seizure of the vessel.

A total of $3.1 billion of liability coverage is available to Shoei Kisen Kaisha through a longstanding shipping-industry program that relies on 13 so-called Protection & Indemnity Clubs, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The group on Monday made an undisclosed offer to the Suez Canal Authority, or SCA, to settle the claim, it said.

The group said the SCA hadn’t provided a detailed justification for the $960 million claim. It included a $300 million claim for a salvage bonus and a $300 million claim for loss of reputation, the group said.

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TAGS: SUEZ CANAL CRISIS, EVER GIVEN, COMPENSATION, WEEKLONG SHUTDOWN, WATERWAY, EGYPT, JAPANESE OWNER, SUEZ CANAL AUTHORITY
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